Since moving into the $4 million Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Regional Training Center in September of 1990, the Training Division has provided specialized courses for thousands of firefighters, military personnel and law enforcement agents from local, state and federal agencies. This year alone, more than 2,200 individuals have attended classes at the 18-acre center. Jacksonville firefighters train an average of 50-75 hours each year at the center, split evenly between the classroom and field exercises.
The center also offers training each year to more than 200 recruits, who spend about 900 hours each at the center as part of the state's minimum and advanced training requirements for firefighters.
In addition to basic fire fighting techniques, the center offers training in such courses as advanced fire fighting, trench rescue, building collapse, rope rescue, extrication, pediatric emergency care, advanced life support, medications and hazardous materials. Every course includes a safety component.
Training Division staff develop and issue departmental standard operating procedures and provide support services for the department as well as numerous outside agencies.
The training facility has a number of structures designed specifically for field training including a burn building, a tower building to teach high rise rescue, a rail car, a two-story liquid propane tank, fire pit and fossil fuel pit. Nearly all are designed to be set ablaze. The center, which operates as a joint venture with Florida State College at Jacksonville, is planning a 14-acre expansion that will enable its instructors to offer field-exercise training in shipboard and aircraft fire fighting.
The center also operates a video unit that for years has provided invaluable training footage captured during real emergencies. Jacksonville's training videos are shown in fire training classes nationwide.